BP's Gulf oil spill is devastating to people and planet. My heart goes out to those whose lives–or livelihoods–were lost or are threatened.
I wake up every morning with new hope, becoming angrier, more frustrated and saddened as each hour passes without a solution to the worst oil spill in America's history. Overall, I'm BPO'd. Watch Philippe Cousteau discuss BP's oil gushing disaster on Real Time with Bill Maher.
Fragile coastal wetlands, lagoons and barrier islands are in serious peril.There are reports of people having trouble breathing due to the vapors from leaking oil and chemicals.
The oil spill's affected area–covering several thousand square miles and growing–is home to more than 400 speciesincluding whales, egrets, herons, otters, American alligators, bottlenose dolphins and millions of migratory birds. This is also a critical location and time for nesting and spawning of many species, including bluefin tuna, sea turtles and brown pelicans.
Good News: The National Wildlife Federation in on the ground and there are ways we can help them:
- Volunteer for the Cleanup Efforts - The National Wildlife Federation is helping coordinate the on-the-ground volunteer effort, including NWF's Gulf Coast Surveillance Teams, which are being set up to monitor the coastline for wildlife in distress.
- Donate to the National Wildlife Federation's Gulf Oil Spill Restoration Fund - You can help wildlife threatened by the oil spill by donating online, making a leadership gift or donating via your mobile phone. Your support will help NWF's on-the-ground volunteer and restoration efforts.
- Speak Up for Cleaner Energy Choices - Tell your senators that now more than ever we need to pass comprehensive legislation that provides America with cleaner and safer energy choices.
- Help Spread Messages Online – Follow @NWF on Twitter or join them on Facebook to get all the latest updates about the BP Oil Spill. On the ground in the Gulf? Share your photos and videos on Flickr by tagging them SPILL_NW10.
Not so good news: The Gulf "spill" is not the only major oil disaster that has yet to be cleaned up. There's Chevron's mess in Equador, impacting indigenous people and their rainforests (see photo on right taken in Equador | Kellee Laser photography). More oil spills in Nigeria every year than the Gulf Spill. But these disasters are largely ignored or forgotten.
PLEASE, if you find wildlife along the Gulf Coast that you think may have been injured by the oil spill, do NOT attempt to rescue it. Call the Oiled Wildlife hotline at 866-557-1401.
The National Wildlife Federation sent a team of wildlife experts, including NWF President and CEO Larry Schweiger, to assess the devastating impact of this unfolding tragedy on the communities, wildlife, marshes and wetlands of the area.
NWF staff members are also collaborating with BP and other industry representatives, local and national nonprofits, their state affiliate network, and state and federal government agencies to help coordinate a meaningful volunteer response to the catastrophe.
NWF is rallying lawmakers to act to pass a comprehensive climate and energy bill that will protect our environment and reduce our nation's energy dependency. Oil companies have spent tens of millions of dollars convincing the public that drilling is completely safe. We know better. The time for change is now.
Message from NWF:
Wildlife rescue requires substantial education, training and expertise. We encourage you to work with a professional organization such as the National Wildlife Federation rather than try to rescue and clean up oil coated animals or creatures in distress on your own.
But seriously, try not to drive your vehicles too much this summer. That's one of the best ways to vote for clean energy and help put an end to these types of disasters.
About the Author. The founder of myEARTH360.comand I Count for myEARTH, Lynn is also a contributing editor to Just Cause Magazine, elephantjournal.com and other online publications. You can find her on twitter & facebook. Guaranteed. Most days between 7 a.m. and 7p.m. She practices breathing when she thinks of it, runs, intends to do more yoga and loves to eat ice cream and dark chocolate. lives in the Chicago surburbs with her husband, son and two feisty cats (plus a maimed raccoon who lives under the deck). Lynn lives on the computer.